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Koalas are coming to the Santa Barbara Zoo — but only for a limited time

Thackory is one of two koalas on loan to the Santa Barbara Zoo for a year beginning April 28, 2018.
Thackory is one of two koalas on loan to the Santa Barbara Zoo for a year beginning April 28, 2018.

Starting at the end of the month, you'll be able to say "G'day, mate!" to two fuzzy koalas at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

The two koalas, Edmund and Thackory, will be on view beginning April 28, the zoo said. Their exhibit will be near the Zoo Train station.

Edmund and Thackory are on a one-year loan from the Los Angeles Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, respectively. The purpose of the loan is to increase awareness of challenges facing koalas and other native Australian species.

But, just like all koalas in America, the marsupial pair are officially Australians.

In addition to getting the standard permits to bring the koalas to Santa Barbara, the zoo also had to make a formal request to the Australian government that included their medical needs, plans for their dietary needs and details of their accommodations, the zoo said.

The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed a baby giraffe on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Here the mother and calf spend their first moments together in their enclosure in Santa Barbara, California.

Even though a koala's primary food, eucalyptus, is prevalent on the Central Coast, the marsupials will eat only plants that come from a eucalyptus plantation in Arizona, where the plant is grown specifically for koalas and is approved by the San Diego Zoo's Koala Loan Program.

However, the koalas' diets might be supplemented with local eucalyptus "if the proper species and sources are identified."

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, though it does close early for some special events. Tickets are $18 for adults, $10 for children 2-12 (children younger than 2 are free), and $13 for seniors.

The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, California, welcomed a new prehensile-tailed porcupine and a red-flanked duiker, the zoo announced on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

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